All systems go as PAL returns to Europe
Published: 16/09/2013 - Filed under: News »
Philippine Airlines has now appointed a sales outlet in the UK to coincide with the launch of flights between Manila and London Heathrow in November (see news, September 14).
Crawley-based Aviareps will now act as PAL's general sales agent responsible for marketing and sales distribution of PAL tickets in the UK.
At the same time, it is clear why PAL chose London to be the first gateway to mark its return to Europe.
Manila-London is by far and away the busiest route linking the Philippines to Europe, according to figures released by routesonline.com.
And as we indicated in our earlier news piece, the indirect Asian and Gulf carriers currently hold the largest market share in the absence of non-stop service.
Last year, over 128,000 passengers flew the route to London with the main market shares held by Cathay Pacific (30.1 per cent), Etihad (15.6 per cent) and SIA (12 per cent).
Way behind came Rome and Paris with over 37,000 and almost 35,000 passengers respectively. Frankfurt and Amsterdam came fourth and fifth with almost 34,000 and over 23,000 passengers.
As might be expected, KLM (the only European carrier to directly serve Manila) only achieved market leader status in Holland.
The huge market share taken by the indirect carriers means that PAL will not find Europe "a walk in the park".
Cathay Pacific remains the chief competitor threat. But the Gulf carriers are catching up.
When PAL last served Europe 15 years ago the Gulf threat was minimal. Today the Gulf's big three offer connections to Manila from cities the length and breadth of Europe.
Etihad and Qatar Airways fly twice daily to Manila from their respective hubs of Abu Dhabi and Doha while Emirates flies three times daily from Dubai. Services are operated by large B777-300ERs.
It means PAL must price keenly to compete with its indirect rivals. Many, if not most, passengers flying to and from Manila will be cost-conscious leisure or visiting-friends-and-relatives travellers. How much of a price premium will they pay for non-stop convenience?
TominScotland - 17/09/2013 00:06
Alex, also worth remembering that Emirtaes are about to start service to Clark which is less than 100 km from Manilla so that will add to the indiract competition
LateralThinker - 17/09/2013 01:35
"... PAL must price keenly to compete with ... indirect rivals. Many, if not most, passengers flying to and from Manila will be cost-conscious leisure or visiting-friends-and-relatives travellers. How much of a price premium will they pay for non-stop convenience?"
The preceding concluding statement of Alex McWhirter hits the nail on the head -- will PAL be able to build a profitable presence in the London-Manila market, given that there far fewer premium travellers use this route compared with the likes of London-Dubai, London - Hong Kong, London-Singapore and London-Mumbai for instance and that indirect competitors such as Emirates offer more frequent connections (three daily flights) while enjoying a superior reputation among premium travellers?
Even the fact that PAL will serve London with modern, fuel-efficient Boeing 777-300ERs and managed to secure Heathrow slots won't make much of a difference if it fails to attract a sufficient number of premium travellers to make this route pay its way. Also, what if lower cost local competitor Cebu Pacific were to launch a competing service with its new Airbus A330-300s, even if this were a high-density, all-economy operation using Gatwick or Stansted instead of Heathrow?
sleak76 - 17/09/2013 11:29
True. Emirates starts services to the farther airport - Clark International Airport (CRK), on Oct 1st but Qatar has also announced the same with this new service starting Oct 27th.
This means EK will serve the capital's two main airports 4 times daily with QR going up to triple daily by the end of October.
It is worth noting that CRK is approx. 80km north of Manila, while the closer airport - Manila's Nino Aquino International (MNL) is roughly just 10km south of Manila.
robdub1 - 18/09/2013 02:33
I have just unfortunately flown with PR from PER-MNL, MNL-KLO, KLO-MNL, MNL-BKK, and am about to fly BKK-MNL and MNL-BNE and all I can say is you get what you pay for. They are positively awful.
They have absolutely no idea of customer service and whilst Australians tend to be more tolerant of inefficiency, bad service and rudeness by staff, Europeans aren't so tolerant. They simply won't put up with crap like Australians do.
All I can say is PR way out of their depth playing with the big boys in Europe and I would almost bet on PR pulling out of Europe in a short amount of time due to lack of interest. Similar to what happened on PER-MNL route. It lasted 5 minutes.
If you are thinking of flying on this terrible airline, be warned. Pay a little more and be safe getting there. May I even suggest, this is a train-wreck waiting to happen.
DerekChilvers - 18/09/2013 12:27
RobWillet7, What lasted five minutes?
AMcWhirter - 18/09/2013 13:45
@RobWillett7 Recent PAL news pieces posted on our website have elicited favourable reader comment. The point to note is that MNL-LHR will be PAL's flagship route for which it will be using its flagship plane unlike the routings to which you refer. So fingers crossed, one would hope PAL will be up to the task in hand.
robdub1 - 19/09/2013 10:33
I really don't want to cross-fingers when it comes to an airline, especially with this lot. The PER-MNL route lasted 5 minutes. A lot of the issues I have with this lot is not necessarily the aircraft, it's the hopeless and lazy on-ground service. Or lack of service. They are out of their depth completely. Just beware the conditions of any booking you make through their website. There appears to be a serious issue of them understanding what things say in English. And be prepared to have your flights changed at the last minute for no apparent reason.
ConstantFlyer - 19/09/2013 11:17
What a shame they are to fly to the local airport for Slough and West London, rather than to a proper hub that has good connections to the UK regions.
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